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Developing Wetland Restoration Scenarios and Modeling Its Ecological Consequences in the Liaohe River Delta Wetlands, China

Authors

  • Xiaowen Li,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
    • State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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  • Chen Liang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
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  • Jianbin Shi

    1. State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
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Abstract

The Liaohe River Delta wetlands contains over 80 000 ha of the world's most important and unique natural wetlands, which support a wide range of important biological diversity and act as crucial staging and breeding areas for migratory bird populations, including some globally threatened species. The economic value and social benefits of the Liaohe River Delta wetlands are also enormous both locally and nationally. In the past two decades, however, these wetlands and the biodiversity they support have been under constant threat of degradation, mostly due to human development pressures. To balance the conflicting potential uses of land by humans and nature conservation, we elaborated spatial planning of three land-use scenarios (i.e., wetland mitigation, habitat management, and agricultural development) in the Liaohe River Delta wetlands, and each scenario included its landscape targets, ecological objectives, spatial strategies, and management types. In order to support this scenarios approach, a landscape ecological decision and evaluation support system (LEDESS) was employed to accommodate the prevalent scenario structures. By using this expert model, we identified the measures to realize the landscape targets, located the spatial areas involved in these measures, and modeled the ecological impacts on habitat suitability and carrying capacities of the indicator species (i.e., red-crowned crane and Saunders' gull). Our results indicated that a spatial solution might be reached that could mitigate the competing land-use needs between the ecological conservation and human needs, and to maintain the “no-net-loss” of wetland habitats.

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